Book review – Science in Seconds by Hazel Muir


I cannot think of a better title for this than ‘Science in Seconds’. It literally does what it says on the tin (or in the title, but that’s less catchy!).

Every two pages in the book opens up into a mini encyclopaedia about a chosen scientific topic. In only a few sentences, the author managed to accurately sum up sometimes very dry and daunting topics into bite sized chunks that are way easier to stay engaged with. Every topic comes with a partnering simplistic diagram or schematic that marries everything together.

It really impressed me how many different areas this book managed to cover. Even within areas such as classic chemistry and futuristic spaceflight, there are a mixture of fundamental concepts and very specific topics. For instance, within the biology category there is a section on simply plants, yet also sections on kidney dialysis and extraterrestrial origins of life!

What’s more is there is a glossary and index at the back where you can look up assumed terms and track down the whereabouts of that pesky concept that you can’t find!

This book masters the art of public engagement with science in writing form, which I am extremely passionate about. It makes science fun and easy, contrary to the dull and elitist reputation it so often receives.

I have also since discovered that this book is part of a series of topics in seconds/minutes, with titles now available in philosophy, economics and psychology to name a few. So if you like the idea of ‘key concepts explained in an instant’ but for some reason think that another subject is BETTER than SCIENCE?!?! Then there are all sorts of other options out there too.

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Book Review – 100 Things Awesome Teachers Do by William Emeny

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First off, I just want to point out that this nifty 142 page collection of anecdotes is available on both the amazon kindle and ibook store for £3 or you can snag a paperback copy for £6-8 online. Super good deals!

Although this book is relatively short it definitely packs a punch. It is divided into lots of sections with different focuses like behaviour management and how to work with high achievers. Personally, the fact that it goes over coping strategies for high achievers was a big push for me to buy this as lots of people tend to be more worried about low achieving students. Not me! I’m most worried about not knowing enough for those students who go above and beyond expectations. This book is really good at providing short and sweet answers to general queries and sharing some anecdotes about scenarios that the author has come across in the past (great for teaching!).

I think it’s great that the author chose to break down the whole book into ‘idea’ sections. The whole essence is that you can carry this guide around in your pocket or on your smart phone and refer to it when you’re having a rough day or in need of some inspiration! Indeed, the author seems passionate about teaching old dogs new tricks!

Regardless, for a newbie to the teaching game this guide will still be a valuable tool that I will surely keep nearby when i’m starting out to keep my lessons fresh and exciting.

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Book review – The Brain Box by David Hogson and Tim Benton


I really really love this book and highly recommend it for anyone still studying for something! It’s full to the brim of hints,tips and great strategies for revising and writing essays/reports. It focuses more on self-discovery revolving around your attitude towards work. I would compare this book to curing a disease rather than curing the symptoms of a disease (like a true medical sciences graduate). It tackles the important aspects of studying like your mentality and motivation rather than feeding you empty techniques like I have seen in other study books.

Moreover, there are still useful tips like the revision timetable planner that I found particularly helpful and interesting ways to make revision more memorable eg. Using music.

What’s best about this book is I have met one of the authors at an educational event and he was an inspiration to get motivated to teach as well as learn. He even managed to teach us a random list of Grammy award winning films using one of the techniques. I can still remember quite a few… Silence of the lambs… Dances with Wolves… Forrest Gump… Gladiator… I haven’t seen half of those!

It’s £9 on Amazon for 196 pages that may revolutionise your life.

Resources

General revision:

GetRevising.co.uk – Great for organising your workload and designing creative resources to keep you on track

RevisionWorld.com – Amazing site that outlines the key information for each GCSE and A-level unit for easy revision

S-Cool – I used to use this when I was in school… Same as before, good breakdowns for GCSE and A-level units

BBC Bitesize – A classic revision tool for secondary school subjects that goes over the basics and has fun quizzes and games to keep things interesting!

The Student Room – A place to share your thoughts with other students about homework, university or just general student life!

eRiding – A huge database of random resources for both teachers and students across a range of subjects (can be a bit awkward to navigate through).

Edudemic – Helpful articles on how to get through school both as a teacher and a student! Also focuses on educational links with technology.

Careers resources:

Prospects – Brilliant website full of info and more resources about every career under the sun and all the details you could possibly want about how to get there too.

iCloud – A set of first hand experiences within different careers to get some reviews and ideas on whether it would be for you.

The National Careers Service – Lots of help on how to get started on finding and securing the career that is right for you including university choices.

Science revision:

Flash Bang Science – Quirky company that offer fun experimental methods and quizzes to test secondary science knowledge.

Super awesome experiments to try:

Plastimake – Crazy material that you can mould with your hands into anything and be super strong, but can also return to original material to reform!

Butter experiment – It may sound boring but making butter in a jar may be more fun than you think! Wonder how long it would take to make cheese…

Points of interest:

Good Magazine – Infographics – A subsection of a magazine that deals with statistical representations as infographics. Has some interesting science articles too.

Duncan Shotton – Super cute sticky notes that act as bookmarks that may be useful when reading masses of text books!

TED article – how to give more persuasive presentations – Great article with hints and tips on how to present yourself more effectively.

Guardian science blog – The Guardian do a great series all about science bloggers writing one-off pieces for the master blog of them all! *life goals*

Bad Science – Ben Goldacre is a man of many talents. From being a GP, academic, blogger and most importantly an advocator for abolishing misleading statistical info he writes great pieces relating to stats and medicine and even has a book (which is also fantastic and hilarious)!

Design Thinking – Provides some stunning resources and posters for school life

Teachers specific resources:

Doddle Learn – Cool resources for teachers although can be costly.

Educake – Paperless, online assessment tools to completely revolutionise teaching!

Science Fix – Blog with tonnes of videos on easy science experiments to repeat in class.

Teacher Planner Co – Incredibly beautiful and practical planners just for teachers! You can personalise them too!